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Get your online accounts

Who is safer, the person who does electronic filing with the IRS, or the person who does not setup an IRS online account? Is it safer to have an online Social Security account or not have one? How about the Post office, should we set up an account with them? Is it dangerous? How about setting up your Xfinity account, or accounts with credit reporting agencies? Many people feel they are safer not having these accounts online. They feel being online exposes them.

They are right and wrong. It exposes them, but probably less than not having an account. The problem is that if you do not have an account, someone else is likely to get it for you. I wrote about this back in 2015, when I recommended getting a Social Security account. If you don't some miscreant can grab your account and convinced them to send your social security checks to their bank. IRS accounts are grabbed by criminals to collect refunds due others. Recently the Postal service noticed that criminals were scanning the emails of people who hadn't signed up for their service. I wrote about that wonderful USPS service here.

Criminals have created online accounts for people who didn't create one for their cell or home phone. Then they used that account to have phone calls forwarded to another number. They can then make a large purchase with a phony ID, and when there is a call to verify, they can answer. They could also circumvent two factor authentication because the text verification would go to them. Be sure and get your online account with your phone company.

Some security experts even suggest that people should get social media accounts to avoid impostors using their name to contact relatives through social media. But that is too much for me. One must draw the line somewhere.

Date: August 2018

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